Editorial from Down South: Florida eating Georgia’s dust when it comes to the film industry

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A movie set in St. Petersburg was shot in Savannah. A movie about Tampa’s Ybor City was shot in Georgia, which had to recreate the look of Ybor City. A movie set in part in coastal Florida was shot in Georgia.

Huh?

Why are Florida movies being shot in Georgia? Money talks, and movie companies are attracted by the strong incentives offered in Georgia.

Georgia has shot to the pinnacle of the movie and TV production industry with a brilliantly simple set of incentives. There is no cap, which makes sense. If an incentive produces results, why artificially turn down revenue for the state? And there is no sunset to the incentives, which reassures filmmakers that Georgia is serious.

Georgia offers a 20 percent tax credit for companies that spend $500,000 or more on production in Georgia. The state gives another 10 percent tax credit if the finished product includes a promotional peach logo provided by the state. If the company has little tax liability, it can transfer or sell its credits.

The economic impact of Georgia’s film industry has increased by an amazing 4,000 percent since 2007; in the 2018 fiscal year, the economic impact of 455 film projects was $9.5 billion.

Georgia now has the largest soundstage complex in the nation at Pinewood Studios Atlanta, reported The Guardian, and it has become a major economic driver for the state.

Consider the little town of Senoia in Coweta County, the filming site of “The Walking Dead.” The number of downtown businesses there have zoomed from six to 85.

In contrast, Florida was once the No. 3 state for film production; today it’s not even in the top 20. Surely it doesn’t help that Florida is now the only state in the Southeast without a film incentive program. Bizarrely, some Florida legislators are so opposed to incentives that they’re willing to give up this clean industry.

See more at Jacksonville.com

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